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Five Aside
By ESPN Staff

Mowbray: Home form isn't everything

Tony Mowbray denies victory is essential against Arsenal at Parkhead if the Hoops are to progress past the Gunners and in the group stages of the Champions League.

The Londoners' tag of favourites for the play-off tie was reinforced at the weekend when they thrashed Everton 6-1 in their Premier League opener at Goodison Park.

However, the Celtic boss is buoyed by own side's 3-1 opening day win at Aberdeen in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

And he pointed to the previous qualifier against Dinamo Moscow when they lost 1-0 at home before winning the second leg 2-0 in Moscow, as evidence against the traditional theory that sides must win their home games in Europe.

''I saw a quote from Mr Wenger this week saying that they play better away from home than they do at home,'' Mowbray said. ''The game is more expansive away from home, teams come on to them more and leave more space for them to play in.

''In an ideal world we would like to be in a position where Arsenal have got to try and score a goal at home. But at this level it is a very tactical affair, so we don't need to be in a winning position after the first game.

''We lost the first game here against a very good Moscow side and managed to win the away game.''

''We are under no illusions,'' Mowbray added. ''Arsenal have got world class players but we are looking forward to it and we have confidence and are going to try and win.''

While many people believe that the way to beat Arsenal is by brawn rather than brain, Mowbray claims his side will play their own game.

The Celtic boss is a fan of Arsene Wenger's philosophy but will pay little heed to the Gunners' impressive display at Goodison as he sets about planning their downfall.

''We all know that Arsenal can do that to football teams,'' he said. ''I don't think many teams, if any team, can beat Arsenal at their own game. They are exceptionally good at keeping the ball and going forward.

''Whatever way you want to play against them, they can find the answers and if it is a football match they generally give a pretty good account of themselves.

''But there have been a few questions asked of Arsenal over the years and they have found it difficult to handle the physicality of the likes of Bolton and Blackburn.

''However, I can't ask McGeady and Maloney to use their weight in this encounter so we have to come up with a solution to try and make the game fall our way.

''But every match has different way of unfolding and we will see how this pans out. On any given day, if we are good enough with the ball then we can ask questions of them.

''I'm sure we will create chances and we have to take them when they come along because I'm sure there won't be as many chances in this game as there were at Pittodrie at the weekend.''

The Celtic boss believes the underdog tag can help unite Hoops fans and the players in their bid to spring what would be a surprise victory.

He said: ''It's going to be a night when the Celtic family are going to gather together and be strong.

''I wouldn't anticipate too many moans and groans when there is a bad pass here and a bad pass there.

''I expect the supporters to be fully behind the team for 90 minutes and be very supportive when we go forward. That is how we can try as a group and as supporters and overcome Arsenal.''


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